Motorists are being reminded that longer nights during the winter provide better cover for thieves and that they should therefore take extra care with securing their vehicles.
Tracker, a firm that supplies recovery systems for stolen vehicles, says its recovery numbers increase by 20% in winter. November, January and February are said to be the most prolific months for thieves.
Last year most vehicles were stolen using the owner's keys, the company said, which would be cause for a little extra explanation to your respective car or van insurance firms.
Tracker's Stuart Chapman said: "Our figures confirm that the winter's extra hours of darkness allow more time for thieves to break into vehicles unseen, with November, January and February being the worst months.
"In 2010, 84% of all the stolen cars recovered by Tracker were taken using the owner's keys, and this danger increases during the winter.
"Added to this, on frosty mornings many people leave their car unattended with the engine on to defrost the windscreen, making their cars a prime target for thieves. We urge motorists to keep their keys safe at all times and think twice to avoid frost-jackers."
Motorists should also always lock their vehicle and keep belongings out of sight, or remove them from the vehicle. A thief is also more likely to be put off from taking a vehicle if it is parked in busy or well-lit and attended car parks in view of CCTV.
© Press Association 2011